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Commercial Whaling

The IWC is responsible for setting catch limits for commercial whaling.  It does this by adjusting the numerical limits as laid out in the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (1946).

In 1982 the IWC decided that there should be a pause in commercial whaling on all stocks from the 1985/1986 season onwards.  This pause is often referred to as the commercial whaling moratorium, and it is still in place today.  The paragraph in the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling that establishes the moratorium can be seen here.

Present Commercial Whaling

Norway and Iceland take whales commercially at present, either under objection to the moratorium decision or under reservation to it.  These countries establish their own catch limits but must provide information on those catches and associated scientific data to the Commission.  The Russian Federation has also registered an objection to the moratorium decision but does not exercise it.  The moratorium is binding on all other members of the IWC. 

Norway takes North Atlantic common minke whales within its Exclusive Economic Zone, and Iceland takes North Atlantic common minke whales and also North Atlantic fin whales, again within its Exclusive Economic Zone.

A list of commercial catches taken by all nations since the establishment of the moratorium can be accessed here